In a move to support the growth of businesses that develop their own IP, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) has introduced the SG Patent Fast Track. The SG Patent Fast Track will enable a patent to be granted in as little as 6 months from its filing date.
Over recent years, IPOS has introduced accelerated patent examination for technologies in industry sectors that are considered key for economic growth. These have included the FinTech Fast Track (FTFT) and the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence (AI2). These two programs have now run their course.
The new initiative replacing the FTFT and AI2 is a technology-agnostic Fast Track procedure under which a patent in any field may be granted in as little as six months, provided it meets the usual patentability criteria.
Eligibility for fast tracking
To be eligible for the new procedure, an application must be first filed in Singapore (i.e. no priority claim) and examination must be requested at filing. The applicant also needs to provide a reason for fast tracking examination. Examples given by IPOS are that the patent application relates to a technology with a short product lifecycle, or one having an impact on public health. Further considerations can be found in the SG Patent Fast Track circular.
In addition to the new Fast Track procedure, the 12 months file-to-grant (“12MG”) procedure remains available for patent applications in all technology areas. Importantly, 12MG is available for priority-claiming applications. Further details can be found in the 12MG release.
Why speed up examination?
Many applications will benefit from early examination. Among other benefits, early examination can:
- provide a direction for adjusting the content of a patent specification before incurring the more costly Patent Cooperation Treaty filing costs;
- enable an allowable claim to be identified early, upon which to expedite prosecution of subsequently filed patent applications in many other countries under the various Patent Prosecution Highway schemes; and
- if a patent is granted, dramatically reduce the time taken for obtaining counterpart patents in other ASEAN nations under the ASEAN Patent-Examination Cooperation (ASPEC) system.
If you would like any further comment on the various programs, or would like to understand how the programs may apply to your particular case, please contact Thomas Griffiths at TGriffiths@davies.com.sg or your usual DCC contact.